COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Delilah Malczewski earned All-TCCAA Second Team honors Monday afternoon, but the Walters State left-handed sophomore pitcher looked every bit a First Teamer in the Lady Senator opening round game in the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Softball Tournament at Columbia State's Eddie Campbell Field less than an hour after receiving the accolade.
Malczewski outdueled Cleveland State's ace Kaitlyn Pickens, a First Team selection, and put the Lady Cougars in the loser's bracket with a 3-1 win in a rematch of last year's region championship game.
Malczewski allowed just one unearned run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings before Lauren Brickey recored the final five outs in hitless relief to notch a save. Pickens was tagged for three earned runs on nine hits in six innings in the loss. WSCC's Taylor McConnell had the go-ahead solo homer in the fourth inning to put the Lady Senators on top for good.
With the win, the second-seeded Lady Senators improved to 33-17 on the season and increased their winning streak to eight games, outscoring their opponents 82-29 during that stretch. Walters State had lost two of three at Cleveland State on April 6-7 and led the finale before it was rained out following the fourth inning, but it is 11-2 since losing that series.
The Lady Senators will face third-seeded Volunteer State (26-16) at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the winner's bracket semifinals, with the other semifinal pitting No. 1 seed Chattanooga State (39-8) against fourth-seeded Motlow State (23-22) at 10 a.m. Volunteer State moved on with a 9-6 victory over sixth-seeded Columbia State on Sunday. Chattanooga State advanced with an 8-0 win over No. 8 seed Roane State on Monday, while Motlow moved on with a 7-6 win over fifth-seeded Dyersburg State on Sunday.
The loss dropped the seventh-seeded Lady Cougars (24-21) into the loser's bracket where they defeated Columbia State 4-3 in the late elimination game to stay alive. Cleveland State (24-21) will take on the loser of the Chattanooga State-Motlow State loser at 3 p.m. on Tuesday in an elimination game. The other elimination game saw Dyersburg State knock off Roane State 7-5, and the Lady Eagles await the loser of the Walters State-Vol State game on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Keeley Quillen, Kallyn Newport and McConnell each had two hits in the win, with Quillen and Lauren Brickey both smacking a double and McConnell clouting her fourth round tripper of the season. Brickey, McConnell and Olivia Wheeler each had an RBI in the win.
Malczewski was staked to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, as Quillen walked, Newport singled and Emma Seagrave slapped a base hit to load the bases with two outs. Brickey walked to bring home Quillen for a 1-0 lead.
Malczewski made it through two scoreless innings before giving up a run in the third to knot the score, but the Lady Senators responded in the home half of the fourth with McConnell's two-out homer to make it a 2-1 WSCC lead.
The margin remained the same until the home half of the sixth when the Lady Senators scored the final run of the game. Brickey doubled, McConnell singled and Brickey scored on a sacrifice fly by Wheeler to make it 3-1.
Brickey recorded a grounder and two fly balls to end the game and send WSCC on to the next round.